Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958)

Director: Terence Fisher

Starring: Peter Cushing, Francis Matthews, Eunice Gayson, Michael Gwynn, Michael Ripper

More info: IMDb

Tagline: The Terror Rises Again

Plot: Having escaped death by the guillotine, Dr. Frankenstein relocates to Carlsbruck. There, as Dr. Victor Stein, he successfully establishes himself as a physician with a large practice and a hospital for the poor. After three years however he is recognized by Dr. Hans Kleve but rather than expose him, the young doctor wants to join him in his research. Frankenstein has resumed his experiments and is on the verge of re-animating a body he has constructed using the brain of Fritz, the deformed assistant who helped him escape from his death sentence. The operation goes quite well and Fritz is quite pleased with his new body. An encounter with a drunken hospital attendant however sends him on the run. As his mind and his body deteriorates, he publicly reveals the good Doctor's true identity.

My rating: 8.5/10

Will I watch it again? Most certainly.

#59 on Hammer Horror (1957-1976)

#24 of 31 Days of Horror 2010.

It's absolutely brilliant how they've continued the story from where we left off with THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1957). It's been a few years since I've seen this one and it's just as powerful as it was then. If you've never spent any time with Peter Cushing you just need to look at his work in the Hammer Frankenstein pictures and you'll see his genius as an actor. Riveting. His Doctor Frankenstein is a cold man dedicated to furthering science...but with a grisly price.

He's escaped the gallows from the end of the last film and he's at it again. Jimmy Sangster's script is top notch. I can't say this enough that this goes beyond what some would consider a throw away horror flick. It really is a very good movie. Both of them are. Between these and the Christopher Lee Dracula movies you can see why Hammer ruled the horror world for more than a decade beginning in 1957.

The story is fantastic and Cushing is in top form. You really feel for the guy more than the last one. He's more human than evil here and his motivations are just and necessary. You want him to succeed. His creation is not a monster but a legitimate advance in science. Gwynn's performance helps create much sympathy that goes beyond what has come before in previous Frankenstein outings. His rise and fall is heartbreaking to say the least. And the end...oh, boy! I smell a sequel and I'm so ready for it! THE EVIL OF FRANKENSTEIN (1964) awaits!

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